8 Reasons Australian Schools should Go Google!

I recently chose a school for my daughter and one of the key reasons I selected that school was that they had wisely seen the future of work and made the move to Google Apps for Education as the core platform in the school, apart from my obvious interest in this outcome, it made me reflect on why schools are chosen by parents today, and how important it is that the school remains current and relevant.

I considered this as a key selection criteria, but there are several other reasons why a modern school in Australia would consider a move to the Google Apps for Education Platform and I have listed them below.

 

  1. A Technology Vision - Parents want to know that the school they are entrusting their children’s education to, has the foresight to see trends in society and the eventual workplace our children are entering, and anticipate the needs of those environments. The common complaint I hear from secondary school and tertiary students these days, and I hear a few as I have been on advisory boards of both Secondary Schools and Universities here in Queensland, is that the school and their teachers/lecturers do not remain current with technology and emerging trends, and the student feels much of their curriculum is outdated or irrelevant for the modern world.

“Principals of schools need to appreciate, that selection of schools for the enrolment of parents’ children will increasingly reflect on technology visions and this currency issue.”

 

  1. It is Truly Free because it’s 100% Web - The Google platform was born on the web, and is completely integrated and delivered in this fashion. There are no dependencies on XYZ Version 10 operating system, or a requirement for servers or a particular hardware platform. The Google Apps for Education bundle is completely free and accessible on any platform, whether the school chooses to employ a BYO Device policy, or selects Windows, iOS, Android tablets, or the popular low cost Chromebooks, the solution will work on all of these seamlessly via a browser. The school is not tied to a particular hardware platform and therefore needing to invest in that hardware. This includes capabilities like video conferencing. You can even view, edit and create Microsoft Office documents natively in Google’s platform without the need of an Office license.
     

  2. Unlimited Storage - Google Apps for Education provides Unlimited storage on its service to all users. This is truly Unlimited storage. There are no caveats on “Fair Use” or what is “Unlimited”. Google has laid down the gauntlet and has advised that the service is truly unlimited in its storage capacity for every user. The only constraints are that an individual file must be no larger than 5TB (that’s huge), and the size of the pipeline to the internet. No more need for backups and off-site storage or managing dwindling storage for users, Google handles all of that.
     

  3. Student Accounts for Life - The Google Apps for Education service does not finish when a student leaves the institution. Alumni can keep that account for life, and this provides the school or university with a mechanism for staying in touch with their alumni. Former students can just setup a forward in their school account to their regular email address if they don’t want to keep checking that account, but this is all possible for maintaining ties with the school’s alumni.
     

  4. Secure and Private - Google Apps for Education users own their data. The data schools and students put in is theirs, and Google believes it should stay that way, it even says so in their contracts. Google has more than 400 security engineers looking after students’ and the school’s information. Additionally, there are no ads in Google Apps for Education services and Google does not use student data in Apps for Education services for advertising purposes.  Spam and antivirus is also handled by Google in the cloud.
     

  5. Truly Mobile - Google has a mobile first policy for product development. This means that functionality that is built for Google Apps for Education is first designed for mobile (smartphone and tablet) use and not retrofitted from a desktop to suit those platforms. It is natively mobile, again allowing the school or if you prefer, parents, to choose whatever device they like.

 

  1. Google Classroom - Google Classroom is a new initiative that extends the Google Apps capability into the classroom, providing teachers with a cloud based classroom organising and collaborating platform. Create classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and see everything in one place. Teachers at your school can also gain Certifications in Educating using the Google Tools and also as trainers of the Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom technologies to other teachers. Great for retaining staff and assisting with their professional development.
     

  2. Brand Association - Finally, schools that have “Gone Google” attract a brand association that sets them apart from schools in the mainstream who have not innovated. The Google brand is globally well regarded, and associating your school with this brand has always been a very positive experience for the school and its marketing efforts. Google regularly showcases organisations who have “Gone Google” and that is an attractive tool in the school’s marketing kit.

 

If you are interested in taking your school on this journey, like the 86 schools in the ACT who recently made the move, all of which were given the choice to stay with Microsoft or Go Google, and would like to investigate what is required to “Go Google” please feel free to contact me, or my team via the contact page on our Practice’s website.